From time to time, I look to see what search terms are used to find my blog. Far and away the most common are questions surrounding the bone marrow biopsy, which also happens to be one of my most read blog posts ever. One little procedure that causes so much anxiety.
I wouldn’t admit it at the time, but my friend Jon watched me sit in the waiting room before the procedure popping about 6 Xanax. Now, they didn’t actually hit until *after* the procedure (which led to me standing in a Stop & Shop yogurt aisle completely unable to function while staring intently at a yogurt container for 10 minutes), but having them there provided some placebo until I physically walked into the room.
The only things I remember strongly about the whole thing were that the room was lined with photos of puffins and that I managed to say “Ouchies” more times in 5 minutes than I have in my entire adult life. It was still early with my oncologist and I wanted to maintain the “I’m too young and innocent to swear” routine as long as it would take me. One of my many doctor voodoo superstitions is that if the doctor thinks of me as being you, he will treat me better. Logical brain knows that’s ridiculous, but emotional panicked brain stores that notion away right next to “Jewish doctors are better” and “doctors who speak a 2nd language are more intelligent”.
The reason why I’m addressing the bone marrow biopsy now is because I’m afraid that I’m terrifying people who are seeking advice and comfort in the face of a bone marrow biopsy. If people are searching for information about the pain and discomfort of a biopsy, they are probably facing their first one. That means they have already had the rug pulled out from under them with a hematological disorder or cancer (particularly lymphoma or leukemia), are probably considering pitching a cot in their doctor’s waiting room, and are functioning on adrenaline alone.
So fear not! Yes, it’s uncomfortable and painful. But you’re bigger than that! Plus, then you can go around talking about how your doctor drilled a hole in your bone. Trust me, the color drains from peoples’ faces: it’s particularly useful for unwanted nosy coworkers.
It can even be funny, as Milton shows us…. (warning, this ACTUALLY SHOWS the bone marrow aspiration – but nothing too gruesome. Worth watching if you can handle it – it’s a lot less scary than it sounds!)
If anyone FROM THE FUTURE reads this and has any questions about the bone marrow biopsy, please comment. Don’t suffer in silence and don’t get yourself worked up about what you can’t control. Cancer is one of the ultimate losses of control and your sense of humor is one of the few things you can (though you might have to walk through fire to do it) hold on to.